TLC Virtual Resiliency

Naomi Osaka’s Mental Health Story

Naomi Osaka, the number 2 ranked female tennis player in the world, recently received backlash for her refusal to talk to the media at the French Open. Citing concerns for her mental health, Osaka was fined $15,000 for missing a media event before eventually withdrawing from the competition. 

At just 20 years old, Naomi beat Serena Williams at the 2018 U.S. Open. Her joyous win quickly turned sour as the crowd booed and jeered at her. She covered her face with her hand and wiped her tears as Serena comforted her. When asked to answer a question about her win, she instead apologized to Serena’s fans rather than being able to enjoy the momentous occasion. As a young adult, this experience surely left a painful mark on her perception of media events after a match. So, when taken into perspective, it makes sense why she chose to protect herself and make the best decision for her mental health. 

Unfortunately, based on the backlash she received after withdrawing from the French Open, it is clear that society does not perceive mental health to be as important as physical health. Noone would bat an eye if Naomi withdrew for a sprained ankle, but revealing her struggles with anxiety and depression was not met with the same acceptance. 

This disregard for mental health within sports is not unlike how other workplaces around the world view the mental health needs of their employees. Naomi Osaka serves as an example that we do not have to sacrifice our mental health for our jobs. While some may see her actions as selfish, they were really an act of self-care and she should be celebrated for putting her mental health first. 

Most people can’t afford to leave their jobs, so when quitting is not an option, here are some other tips to practice self-care at work and build resilience against stress and burnout. 

  1. Recognize that self-care is not a spa day or indulging yourself after a stressful day. Rather, self-care is caring for yourself everyday and maintaining wellness
  2. Take a lunch break. You can use that hour to work out, relax and disconnect, or eat! Do whatever is restorative to you. Taking a “working lunch” and not having a moment to relax during the workday can lead to burnout and job dissatisfaction. 
  3. When possible, say no to tasks that you don’t have time to complete. This will allow you adequate time to perform other tasks and to perform them well rather than spreading yourself too thin.
  4. Set boundaries with bosses and co-workers. For example, on your days off, you are not obligated to answer emails and phone calls related to work. 
  5. Build friendships with at least one co-worker. Having someone to talk to who understands the struggles at work provides needed social support. 
  6. Self-care can be as simple as drinking enough water and eating healthy foods throughout the day. 

If you are looking for more resources on how to build resilience and decrease burnout, contact us or check out our other blog posts! And if you are struggling with burnout and other mental health issues, we always recommend speaking to a mental health professional.